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Young mother killed in I-10 shooting with daughter in back seat

“It’s not the first interstate shooting, and the way things are looking it won’t be the last."

NEW ORLEANS — A young mother is dead after another I-10 shooting in New Orleans.  This latest shooting happened around three o’clock Tuesday afternoon and police were on scene well into the evening.

With all eastbound lanes of I-10 closed, from about Dwyer Road to Crowder Boulevard, police were trying to piece together the moments before a black car crashed into a guardrail at the Crowder Boulevard exit in New Orleans East.

Those moments took the life of a woman family members identify as Whitney Watts, 34, killed while driving on the interstate with her daughter in the car. Police say Watts was shot multiple times. Her sister-in-law, Reone Watts, was on the phone with her.

“I’m at a loss for words,” Reone Watts said. “I was on facetime. All I got was, I heard my niece screaming in the background telling her mom to wake up.”

Thinking it was a seizure, Reone called Watts’ husband, who then called his daughter in the car.

“When he called his daughter, she said, ‘no, she was shot,’” Reone Watts said.

The car’s back window was busted and there was at least one visible gunshot through the back-passenger window.

“It’s a mess. It’s aggravating,” said New Orleans East resident John Robinson.

Robinson, who loves and calls New Orleans home, is tired of constant crime and scenes of the aftermath.

“It’s not the first interstate shooting, and the way things are looking it won’t be the last,” he said.

According to NOPD records, about 20 interstate and highway shooting cases happened in 2021. The most recent was this year, just a few days ago. Early Saturday morning, a double shooting on I-10 East in downtown left one man dead and a woman injured.

“It’s crime everyday, everyday,” Robinson said. “There’s no one to help. There’s nothing being done.”

Police have not said whether they believe Tuesday’s interstate shooting was random or targeted. Family members say there’s no reason for Watts to be targeted and think she was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

“She’s not even that type of person. Maybe it could be a mistaken identity because of the car but I don’t know,” said Reone Watts.

Former co-workers of Watts say she was a former employee at the Sewerage and Water Board of New Orleans and she leaves behind two small children.

If you happen to know anything about these interstate shootings, you’re asked to call police.

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